Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook: Black Mission Fig and Candied Buddha's Hand Jam

I think August is the height of delicious goodies at the grocery here in Texas.  Because just when I swore I was done making jams, they pile up this giant mound of figs.  Kadotas, Tiger, Black Mission...  And before I knew it, I was stuffing plastic bags full of soft, ripe figs.  Luckily, I had my new favorite cookbook to help me along.  And my fabulous candied Buddha's hand that I made over Christmas break last year.  And they came together wonderfully to make a jam that I never thought I would enjoy.  It's surprisingly delicious.  This ain't yo' mama's Fig Newton.

Black Mission Fig and Candied Buddha's Hand Jam
Adapted from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders

3¼ pounds Black Mission figs
1¼ pounds granulated sugar
3 ounces fresh lemon juice
5 ounces candied Buddha's hand, or other candied citrus peel
¼ ounce Benedictine
¼ ounce triple sec
3 tablespoons powdered pectin

Day 1

Chop the figs into medium-small pieces.  Place the pieces in a stainless-steel kettle wide enough to hold them in a double layer.  Add enough cold water to make a 1/2-inch layer in the bottom of the pan.  Cover the pan and bring the fruit to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Stir, decrease the heat to medium-low, cover again, and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir, cover once more, and cook for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the figs are tender, stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent sticking.  When the figs have finished cooking, put them into the bowl of a food processor.  Process for about 30 seconds to chop up the peels.  Do not puree completely.  Combine the chopped figs and their liquid with the sugar, citrus peel, and lemon juice.  Stir well to dissolve the sugar, cover tightly, and let macerate in the refrigerator overnight.

Day 2

Place a saucer in the freezer for testing the jam later.

Remove the figs from the refrigerator.  Transfer the mixture to an 11- or 12-quart copper preserving pan or a wide nonreactive kettle.  Stir in the Benedictine and triple sec.  Sprinkle with the pectin and stir well.

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring a few times with a heatproof rubber spatula.  When the jam boils, decrease the heat to a lively simmer.  Continue cooking, stirring frequently and lowering the heat slightly if the jam thickens.

When the jam has thickened, test the jam for doneness.  Remove the saucer from the freezer.  Test the consistency of the jam by placing a spoonful of the mixture onto the cold plate.  Return the plate to the freezer for two minutes.  Remove the plate again, and check the consistency of the jam. The jam is set when it holds its shape on the cool plate. If it seems loose, continue cooking over medium-low heat until set.

Fill prepared jars with the jam mixture.  Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp cloth and place lids on the jars.

Place the closed jars in a large pot of hot water, covered by 2 inches. Bring the water to a full boil and boil for 10 minutes, then transfer the jars onto a thick towel to let cool. Leave them undisturbed for 24 hours. Check to make sure that all lids have sealed by pressing on the center of the lid. If the lid moves, place the jar in the refrigerator.

Makes 6 half-pint jars

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